A 3 cd box set in ECM's Old and New Masters Series features
master bassist Arild Andersen's first three albums as a leader -
'Clouds In My Head', 'Shimri' and 'Green Shading Into Blue' - none of
which has previously appeared on CD.
the three discs present a compelling picture of Andersen's first years
as a bandleader. They show his ability to lead an ensemble, to harness
young talent and direct it creatively. There are also many fine tunes
from Arild's pen and, of course, there is plenty of Arild's tremendous
bass playing in the ballads and up-tempo pieces.
All three albums were
produced by Manfred Eicher in Oslo and for this CD re-issue all the
music has been re-mastered.
In 1974 the great Norwegian bassist
Arild Andersen decided to strike out on his own. After six years as Jan
Garbarek's bassist and a parallel career as freelance musician, playing
for everyone from Don Cherry to Stan Getz, he launched his own group.
The first recording, 'Clouds In My Head' featured two 19 year olds -
drummer Pål Thowsen, a virtuoso from Arild's neighbourhood in
Lillestroem, and the then-unknown Jon Balke on piano. On saxophone was
Knut Riisnaes, leading light of Oslo's bebop scene.
'Shimri' featured a revised line-up with the great Finnish saxophonist
Juhani Aaltonen, a wonderfully expressive player, and Swedish pianist
1978's 'Green Shading Into Blue' added discreet use of
synthesizers to the group's palette with Lars Jansson now playing
Mini-Moog and String Ensemble keyboards as well as piano. Andersen had
been inspired by Herbie Hancock's use of electronic keyboards, but
sought to integrate them as colours in a group where "the energy still
derived from the core acoustic quartet".
Andersen (double-bass), Pål Thowsen (drums), Jon Balke (piano), Lars
Jansson (piano, synthesizers), Knut Riisnaes (saxophones, flute),
Juhani Aaltonen (saxophones, flute)